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By Clara Denina , Pratima Desai and Muyu Xu
LONDON/BEIJING, Oct 14 (Reuters) - China Construction Bank (CCB) is looking to build a Chinese metals trading desk in London as part of the expansion started after it bought a majority stake in British firm Metdist Trading, two sources said.
CCB completed its purchase of a 75 percent stake in Metdist Trading Ltd last June, becoming the second Chinese company to gain access to the London Metal Exchange (LME) trading floor after GF Financial Markets.
"CCB/Metdist has already hired a couple of traders from other LME floor brokerages, but it really wants to build a Chinese trading team in London," one source familiar with the matter said, adding that in total the bank intends to boost its international team to 70 people from around 20 currently.
A second source said CCB/Metdist is looking to hire around 15 traders it total, mostly Mandarin-speaking.
The 138-year-old exchange, where global benchmark prices of industrial metals including copper, aluminium and zinc are set, has sought to attract more Chinese business since it was bought by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing in 2012.
China is the largest consumer of several commodities, and accounts for nearly half of global copper demand.
CCB, China's second-largest lender by assets, told Reuters in an email "the recruiting effort is in accordance with the business plan ... The LME-related financial services are expected to be expanded next year."
Metdist CEO Nigel Dentoom declined to comment.
The expansion comes at a time when China's biggest lender ICBC, which has a majority stake in South Africa's Standard Bank and also trades on the LME, has reduced its base metals trading business in London to cut costs.
Metdist was set up by former LME chairman Lord Raj Bagri in 1970.
Reporting by Clara Denina and Pratima Desai. Additional reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing, editing by David Evans